Last year, Yung Lean, aka Jonatan Leandoer Håstad, made a formidable return to the world of music with his latest (and in his opinion, greatest) album to date, Stranger. The album felt like a maturation for Håstad, no longer a teenager but an artist more sure of his own identity and where he wants to be in life. With 2017 and the album behind us, Yung Lean is looking forward to the year ahead and everything that it will bring—including (possibly) musical theatre—and we sat down with the Swedish rapper to go through it all.

Over the course of half an hour, Yung Lean opened up about the various facets of his art—his music, his painting and his style—how he approaches each medium differently, and how he first found the confidence to express himself in any way he could. Principally, he attributes the earliest moments of creative nurturing to his great uncle who encouraged him to create anything with his hands and to let his imagination run wild. His parents, though not artists themselves, were also encouraging and gave Håstad the space and freedom to explore. 

We also touched on the purposes of his art, for example the therapeutic nature of painting, as well as the reasons why he needed to find a therapeutic outlet. Having found fame in his late teens with Unknown Memory, Håstad has found it harder and harder to deal with being constantly recognised and approached. Though he seems to be in a good headspace these days, the pressure of public life is just as potent. Still, as we found out, if the life of a rapper gets too much, he may just move into musical theatre.